GAA

'If We Had Won That, We Could Have All Retired And Burned Our Hurls'

'If We Had Won That, We Could Have All Retired And Burned Our Hurls'

Five points up and man up in this year's All-Ireland semi-final against Tipperary and Liam Griffin thought Wexford were on the road to their first final since he managed the county to the 1996 title.

"I thought we were going well and we had a great chance of closing it out but unfortunately it did not happen," said Griffin, who is being inducted to the Hall of Fame at the Gaelic Writers' Association annual awards, sponsored by Sky Sports.

"It is a pity because it would have been novel to have ourselves and Kilkenny in an All-Ireland final and if we had won that, we could have all retired and burned our hurls," Griffin said with a laugh.

Griffin believes Davy Fitzgerald's decision to remain on as manager for a further two years compensates for the heartbreak of that defeat.

Davy is very highly regarded in Wexford and rightly so. He has done a great job and he has a good relationship with the players, the board and the people.

Davy has learned every step on the way and he has shown that he is willing to learn. He has been very good for Wexford.

At least now, everyone knows where they stand. It is two years and that is it. The big thing now is the succession stakes as to who will succeed Davy and that discussion needs to start now.

The players are delighted he is staying on and hopefully it will inspire them to get to the final next year and let’s see what happens then.

One aspect of hurling which Griffin would like to see change is for there to be a reduction in the number of multi-player scraps for the sliotar which regularly bubble up during games.

"It is a disaster. It looks dreadful. It does not make a lot of logical sense because with the best will in the world you have only a 50 per cent chance of coming out with the ball. It just does not look the part.

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"It is impossible to police but I think we should address it in our heads as to how we can make it better. Teams are so obsessed with not losing possession that they get into this huddle in the first place and they are quite happy to keep the huddle there on the basis that if the ball is there, they might win it.

"But I have watched matches where teams have been conceding scores from the middle of the field as a result of a schemozzle breaking the wrong way. Every time the play breaks down we are going into one of those schemozzles and that is not great."

The Wexford legend would also not be against the introduction of a sin-bin to the game.

"I used to write a column in the past where I stressed that a sin-bin was something we needed and that still holds.

"The great thing is that you don’t have to put a fellow off. Ten minutes is a serious penalty in hurling and football, except that it could lead to teams who lose a player becoming more defensive in that period.

"I think it is a move in the right direction and if it is worth trying in football it is worth trying in hurling.

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"There was a very cynical off the ball foul in last year’s game between Galway and Wexford. It was a foul on Damien Reck off the ball and it was committed to prevent him from making space for himself.

"It might not have been a red card but had the referee the option it would certainly have been a black card.

"It was cynical play and we (Wexford) are not above being cynical. It would be holier than though to suggest that we are."

Picture credit: Dáire Brennan / SPORTSFILE

See Also: Heartbroken Downey Glad To Leave Kilkenny In A Good Place

PJ Browne
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